Calcium forms about 1% of adult body weight. Its the most abundant electrolyte in the human body due to its structural function for the skeleton. Normal calcium levels are 9-11mg/dL .More than 99% of calcium in the body is in the bones.
Calcium Rich Foods
- Milk and milk products are the best dietary sources of calcium.
- Egg yolk
- Leafy green vegetables
- Hard drinking water.
Factors That Effect the Absorption of Calcium in The Body
- Vitamin D – helps in the absorption of calcium.
- Parathyroid hormone- Increases calcium absorption.
- Excessive intake of fats decrease calcium absorption.
- Bile salts – Increase the absorption of calcium.
- Proteins – proteins in the diet help absorb calcium.
- Intestinal PH- if acidic, then it helps with calcium absorption.
- Old age – less calcium is absorbed in old age.
- Glucocorticoids- These decrease calcium absorption.
- Intestinal disease- diseases like steatorrhea and malabsorption diseases.
What Calcium Does in The Body?
- Calcium is important for bone and tooth development. Sufficient calcium intake must be encouraged in early life to build up skeletal reserves. If this is not done, then there will be an increased chance of developing osteoporosis in old age especially in women because deficiency of sex hormones results in calcium mobilization from the bones leading to osteoporosis.
- Calcium is needed to help the body clot blood.
- Calcium controls the excitability of nerves. If calcium is low, a disorder called tetany results in which there are contractions of many muscles, death can occur from convulsions or spasm of the muscles of the throat. Extra calcium depresses nervous activity.
- Calcium is needed for the contraction of muscles including the heart.
Too Much Calcium
An excessive intake of calcium can be dangerous because calcium gets deposited in many body tissues, resulting in their malfunctioning.